There’s a student that I’ve had since I first started here. At first, I thought he was fantastic. His language ability was rather advanced, he paid attention in class, and he talked during the English Corners. He seemed like an all-around good guy, albeit a little eccentric at times. However, over time my opinion has changed considerably.
The first things I noticed, and I’ve mentioned it several month ago, are his unusually conservative ideas towards women. When asked if a woman should be able to leave her husband if he gets drunk and beats her everyday, he said no. He’s also expressed his belief that women shouldn’t be allowed to voice their political or philosophical opinions which always offends the more educated female students. When asked why he thinks the way he does he claims that there’s “no why.” He just thinks them because he thinks them.
“Do you have a girlfriend?” I always ask.
“Have you ever had a girlfriend?”
“And you never will have a girlfriend with thinking like that.”
And he always argues about every little thing. In the English Corners, which is the only kinds of classes he can go to, if there’s anything that comes up about China or things that involve China, he will always try to debate it, without fail. Even if you have done tons of research he will try to dispute some part of it with you. The thought of a foreigner knowing something about China that he doesn’t must drive him nuts. And so, he tries to make a scene. Usually, a good shut down involves inviting him up to teach the class “because I’m just a foreigner and I don’t know anything about China even though I’ve spent hours of my time preparing this lesson. But no, you’re right. You obviously know more about it than me. So come on up here. Get up and teach the rest of the class.” He backs out like a rat and quiets down for a bit until his ego has recovered.
He’s also an idiot. When ever the subject of the US comes up in a discussion, he always says something along the lines of “Hey, tell us about how America was beaten by a small group of crazy people on 9/11.” What a compassionate guy. When he says something asinine like that, I then take a sadistic pleasure in recounting China’s long history of getting pwned by smaller countries. I always bring up how China was completely destroyed by the Koreans, the Mongols, Japan (several times), Vietnam, and Central Asian Muslims. He usually sits there with a nervous smile on his big stupid face as everyone laughs at his lack of knowledge.
And now that I think about it, he spends an awful lot of time trying to bait the foreign teachers and the majority of the time I ignore him. However, I always give him a good shut down at the beginning of the class to take control of the situation. For those of you who are unfamiliar with teaching in China, maintaining order in the classroom, especially with adult students, is incredibly important. If you let one mutinous act go unanswered then the rest of the troublemakers will pounce on you. Sound extreme? Well that’s been my experience so far. Papa WA don’t take no mess and that’s something the agitators learn real quick once they take my class.